Archive for 'people'

Building your interpersonal skills at work

Demonstrating strong interpersonal skills in the workplace can boost your performance and improve your experience at work by promoting positive workplace relationships. Interpersonal skills that will help employees thrive amongst each other can include communication skills, negotiation, problem solving, teamwork, decision making, empathy and assertiveness. Here are some ways you can develop your interpersonal skills for the workplace.

Refine your workplace etiquette

Demonstrating appropriate workplace behaviour can show your colleagues that you are a team player and that you care about them and the job. This can include being punctual to work and meetings, being courteous, showing respect, being cooperative, taking initiative, and dressing appropriately.

Strive for conflict resolution

Always talk to your fellow employees with respect, even when a disagreement is at hand. If your words or tone of voice are condescending, rude, or inconsiderate, it can damage workplace relationships and reflect badly upon you. When conflict arises, opt to talk things through by identifying the problem and working with others to come to an agreeable solution instead of acting irrationally or avoiding communication.

Be an active listener

Actively listening to someone doesn’t just mean sitting there and not interrupting them. To be an active listener, avoid only engaging with someone on a passive level. Instead, enter the conversation like you also have something to gain from it and you may find yourself not only learning more, but making others feel understood and heard. Be open minded and empathetic when listening to someone’s perspectives, and demonstrate your engagement with responsive body language.

Be receptive to feedback

Feedback can come in the form of someone telling you that you hurt their feelings, they didn’t like the way you behaved, or asking you to do something differently next time. Don’t brush these comments off, but take the time to think about where they might be coming from or ask them to elaborate. If their feedback makes sense, it gives you a great opportunity to work on a particular area after seeing where you went wrong. You can also ask for feedback on your interpersonal skills from coworkers and managers.

Posted on 28 May '20 by , under people. No Comments.

Remote teams versus virtual teams

As the majority of the workforce transitions to working from home and we rely on the digital world to connect with our colleagues – employers and employees alike – we should consider the future possibilities for recruitment and a digital workplace. A few terms like “remote team” and “virtual team” are constantly being thrown around but what exactly do they mean and how can you incorporate them into your own workplace?

What is a remote team?

A remote team is composed of workers who work together on one project while geographically distanced either one another or the rest of the business. This does not have to mean that remote teams and workers are working from home, rather includes people working from different cities and even countries.

A remote team of workers is beneficial for businesses which are looking to improve employee retention – as employees are more likely to stay at a business where they can conveniently get to work. Opening up your recruitment process to form a remote team also means you have a wider range of talent to choose from as you are no longer limited to your local area as you would with commuting employees.

However, remote teams may pose a problem if your business does not have the adequate technology, coordination system and monitoring facilities to reproduce or surpass the productivity levels that you otherwise would have with in-house employees. When looking to incorporate a remote team into your business, be mindful of how they will communicate with each other as well as your in-house employees, and fit into your established business process.

What is a virtual team?

A virtual team consists of team members who report to different team managers or team leaders, whether working remotely or not. The term “virtual” refers to a defined system rather than anything digitalised.

Instead of a hierarchy system, virtual teams are more collaborative and are led through influence rather than a traditional up-down system. Virtual teams foster an interdependent workplace culture, where a business decision does not depend on any one person but becomes more of a unified process. Businesses which have a number of different virtual teams with a group of co-located team leaders are more cooperative and united in nature, although some may struggle with the lack of authoritative work culture in “horizontal” cross-functioning teams.

Key difference

The key difference between remote teams and virtual teams is where their members work from. Remote workers are always working away from the main company body, whereas this is not necessarily the case for virtual workers. Despite working geographically apart, remote teams operate as employees would in a traditional workplace system, in that there is some form of hierarchy. Virtual teams however refer to the concept of being an effective team with a horizontal approach, where workers can work both in-house or remotely.

Posted on 14 May '20 by , under people. No Comments.

Communicating effectively with your remote team

Communication is a huge part of business productivity, however, businesses who have made a recent shift from face-to-face work to working remotely can find it difficult to adapt and maintain effective communication. But just because you no longer see your staff face-to-face doesn’t mean that your communication has to suffer.

Have a communication plan

Whether it’s having a set schedule for work calls and virtual meetings, or requiring employees to provide reports or updates at certain times, having a clear communication plan can help keep your staff on track with their work and with each other. It’s a good idea to keep a record of this in writing by using tools such as shared calendars or reminders.

Utilise messaging tools

Messages are a great way to communicate with your staff and keep a written account of tasks and ideas. If your business relies on teamwork, then having group messaging chats are essential to keeping everyone on the same page, otherwise, miscommunication and confusion are huge risks. This will also give employees the opportunity to chat amongst each other in a group setting as they would normally do in the workplace, and can help them retain a positive work attitude through providing a sense of collegiality and normalcy.

Provide performance feedback

With everyone working remotely, it can be hard to monitor the performance and quality of your employees. Providing performance feedback fortnightly or monthly can help your employees continue to learn and improve, as well as keeping them productive knowing that their work will be reviewed.

Recognition

Providing a positive and encouraging comment in the office seems very natural and easy to do, but when it comes to remote workers, it is easy for employers and managers to forget about taking the time to show recognition for the work employees are doing. Just like anyone else, remote employees should receive adequate praise and recognition for the high-quality work they do; without it they are likely to become disengaged.

Posted on 30 April '20 by , under people. No Comments.

How to retain your employees

Retaining your employees is often a harder task than you think, especially during fluctuating economic conditions and with a growingly skilled and talented workforce. Here are some tips you can implement into your workplace culture to help you retain employees and make sure they are happy working with you!

Provide quality leadership, management and supervision

Employees more often than not leave jobs because of their managers, bosses and supervisors rather than the job itself. To make sure your employees have a good experience working for you, provide them with educational and warm leadership. Here are a few things to keep in mind when leading and teaching your employees:

  • Be clear about your expectations
  • Be clear about each employee’s earning potential and update them whenever possible
  • Provide concise and constructive feedback on their performance

Allow employees to grow their talents and skills

Learn about your employees and allow them to utilise their skill sets and talents within the work delegated to them in your business. As an employee, what’s even worse than a bad manager is the inability to grow their skills and be challenged at work. Never box your employees into rigid work procedures and allow a degree of freedom and room for growth for your employees.

Reward your employees

Keep employees happy to work for you and give you their all by constantly incentivising them with rewards. Whether your rewards are monetary or speak to their emotional needs, employees need to be motivated to keep working for you while also remaining productive and doing their best for you. Consider making your rewards personalised to each employee to make them more effective.

Respect and appreciate your employees

Tied in with the previous point of employees leaving their positions as a result of their bosses, showing your appreciation and respecting your employees goes a long way in influencing your best employees to stay with your business. A positive and amicable work culture often makes or breaks a business and not only should you respect your employees, all of your employees should be respectful and appreciative of each other. Building a respectful community in your workplace is certainly a plus when considering how to retain employees.

Posted on 16 April '20 by , under people. No Comments.

How to implement social distancing in the workplace

With COVID-19 threatening the health and safety of all communities around the world, it is now more important than ever to practise social distancing in the workplace. Social distancing includes ways to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases and as the name implies, lessens the amount of contact between you and other people.

It is important to apply social distancing wherever possible within your workplace to minimise the risks of person-to-person infection and fulfil the responsibility you have to the safety and health of your colleagues and clients.

In the context of a workplace, social distancing means avoiding direct contact with your colleagues through a number of effective methods, including:

  • Staying at home if you feel unwell or are sick
  • Implementing work-from-home measures wherever possible
  • Dividing in-office work hours between employees to reduce the number of people in an indoor space at any given time
  • Stopping handshaking as a greeting – emerging alternatives include the “elbow bump” or a pat on the back
  • Moving office meetings to online video or phone calls
  • Limiting food handling and sharing of food in the workplace
  • Having employees take lunch at their desk rather than in a communal lunchroom
  • Cancelling non-essential business travels
  • Promoting good hygiene practice such as coughing/sneezing into elbows
  • Providing disinfectants and hand sanitisers for all staff to use during working hours
  • Opening windows and adjusting air conditioning for better ventilation

As COVID-19 grows in severity, consider how you can enforce any of the above social distancing measures in your workplace and how you can encourage others to do the same.

Posted on 27 March '20 by , under people. No Comments.

All about diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Diversity and Inclusion is a growing concept that many businesses – from SMEs to MNCs – all around the world are grappling to understand and implement into their workplace. But what exactly does D&I entail and why is it becoming so important for businesses and employees?

Social inequality has long been a complex global problem and to this day, stakeholders from individuals to governments and businesses are working towards resolving the unfair distribution of opportunities due to individual differences. In the business world, this means accepting, hiring and including employees of all ethnicities, cultures, sexualities and with physical or mental disabilities.

Harmonious workplace culture has always been an integral aspect to business success and D&I is evolving into a necessary addition to all internal workplace procedures. In Australia, D&I mostly consists of diverse cultural recognition and free expression of sexuality, through employee programs and services. While difficult to implement and even harder to enforce, D&I has become vital to businesses and employees because of a couple of reasons:

  • Employee Engagement:
    A company which stands for cultural, ethnical, sexual and more types of diversity and protects the freedoms and social rights of its employees is bound to earn the favour of its workers. Not only do employees feel safe to express themselves at work, but they also learn to accept the different circumstances of their peers.
  • Company Confidence:
    With happy employees comes a happy and successful business. With workers feeling safe and appreciated at their workplace, productivity naturally increases and workflow also becomes smoother. Business operations automatically become more efficient and profitable, adding positively to the company’s image and confidence.
  • Attracting Potential Talent:
    Similar to employee engagement, a harmonious and safe workplace will attract potential employees and talents. For example, if a company was to have a disability-inclusive program for its employees, disabled and capable talents are more likely to reach out and work with the business.

Currently, D&I is still a relatively new concept to businesses and it has been difficult for businesses to implement D&I strategies effectively considering there are not many earlier examples to follow. However, it is never too late to learn more about D&I and consider implementing the idea into your workplace culture.

Posted on 28 February '20 by , under people. No Comments.

Training a new employee

Hiring a new employee can interrupt the daily workplace routine while they need a little extra attention and help and learn how things work. Here are some ways you can make the training period more successful…

Onboard before the start date
It is likely that new employees will feel more comfortable and perform better if they are prepared for their first day on the job. New employees often worry about things like what they should wear or where they should go and are reluctant to already be asking trivial questions. To ease them into the workplace, you can send an email prior to their start date that outlines:

  • The start time.
  • Locations.
  • Parking details.
  • Dress code.
  • A brief overview of what will be covered on the first day.
  • Anything they need to bring and what will be provided.

Offer mentors
Enlisting the help of senior employees to help train and mentor new employees can be a great way to efficiently train them. This can also help senior members of the team continue to feel valued and can promote friendly relations and coworker connections.

Provide regular feedback
Constructive feedback can go a long way for new employees as you can correct any mistakes before they turn into habits. When giving feedback, you can avoid demotivating the new employee by providing both positive and negative feedback and focusing on their behaviour and not them.

Train for culture as well as practice
Ensuring that the new employee has the right practical information is obviously important, however, if your company has a certain culture it wants to uphold, you can also train them for this. For example, if your business focuses on being an eco-friendly office, demonstrate how that is done and what eco-friendly procedures are taken in the workday.

Posted on 13 February '20 by , under people. No Comments.

Is a pay cut worth it?

When looking for a new career opportunity, a pay cut is something that may come up with a job offer. There are factors such as experience, field of work, job demand and potential for growth that all affect a salary offer.

Deciding whether or not to take a pay cut with a new position can be difficult and is best done after looking at the pros and cons of the opportunity.

You are changing careers
Jobs within your existing field and changing industries should be treated differently. For a new career, it is likely that you will need to take a pay cut to gain a new set of skills and establish yourself in the industry. Before you take the offer, make sure that the rate of pay is competitive and assess the opportunity for future promotions, to ensure that this pay-cut will not be something permanent.

Opportunities for future growth
The short-term loss in salary may be worth it in the event that the new job opportunity has the potential to grow your salary past your current earnings in the future. For example, young businesses and startups with proven growth periods of time may be a good choice if you get in early and reap the financial rewards in time. Making less money in the short term may not be too bad if your salary, job satisfaction and experience are growing in the long term.

Posted on 29 January '20 by , under people. No Comments.

Should you work with family and friends?

One place small business employers often fail to search for new job applicants is the families and friends of their best employees. Before rushing headlong into hiring family or friends, consider the people and all areas of business that will be affected. Hiring friends and relatives can be a balancing act. If not handled well, it can sour the working environment. But hiring friends and family can have great benefits too, as long as you proceed carefully with these following points:

Business is not a charity:
Don’t hire an employee’s relative just because they ‘need’ a job. If someone has trouble holding down a job, you don’t want them either. Make it clear that if the relative or friend doesn’t perform as expected, he or she will have to go. Hire on a probationary basis, establishing a two-week or month-long period to see how things work out.

Hire for the right reasons:
People rarely see their own relatives clearly and are therefore likely to make general and positive statements that don’t tell you if they have relevant work experience or training, rather than analysing their capabilities. With this in mind, ask specific, detailed questions about their qualifications before you agree to interview them.

Never play favourites.
Be toughest on your own relatives. Before you hire a relative, make it clear to them that they are going to have to prove themselves, and they will be held to the highest standards. Make sure all the rules apply to all employees. Everyone has to be qualified and they have to do their jobs well. Otherwise, they’re not hired.

Posted on 15 January '20 by , under people. No Comments.

Managing employees with personal crises

Managing an employee who is going through a stressful period personally can be a big challenge for bosses. Handling these situations well as a manager often means you need to be compassionate and empathetic whilst also being professional and constructive.

Listen:
If an employee comes to you with a problem, it can be helpful if you listen to them without interrupting to assure them that you are aware of the situation so you can understand and act accordingly. This could prompt a productive discussion to consider work solutions that are appropriate for the employee and the business.

Keep it professional:
It is often useful to remember that you are still the employee’s manager and not their friend. If the line between manager and friend is blurred, it can make it difficult for you to take a stance and do what is best for the rest of the team and business down the line. If you become too entangled in the employee’s problem, it can make it harder for you to have a serious and upfront discussion about work, which could then damage productivity.

Offer appropriate assistance:
Make a judgement on what the employee needs depending on the situation and act accordingly. This could include reducing their workload, adjusting their work schedule or allowing them to take leave.

Don’t pry:
You often don’t know how much the employee is comfortable with sharing, so to avoid making things uncomfortable, make sure you don’t ask invasive questions. This will also prevent you from becoming too involved in the situation beyond the professional level.

Check in:
You can occasionally check in with your employee by sending a brief email or asking them in person. This doesn’t have to delve into the details of their personal troubles; you can ask questions like ‘do you feel you’re handling everything okay?’ or ‘have the solutions we talked about been helpful?’. This can help your employee feel supported and comfortable at work.

Posted on 13 January '20 by , under people. No Comments.